Required Reading

This photo, which no one seems to be able to track to a specific place, has been making the round on the internet as a quintessentially 21st century photo (not geotagged and no EXIF info, of course). (via Tim Bennett's Twitter feed, also there's a related article)
This photo, which no one seems to be able to track to a specific place, has been making the round on web as a quintessentially 21st century pic (not geotagged, of course). (via Tim Bennett’s Twitter feed, also there’s a related article)

This week, Peggy Guggenheim troubles, bell hooks on Beyoncé, Marianne Boesky on art, an unknown genius of Art Deco, lack of diversity at the National Gallery of Art, ruining Thomas Kinkade, and more.

 There’s a battle brewing at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice:

Seven descendants [of Peggy Guggenheim] who live in France are pressing a lawsuit in a Paris court, with a hearing scheduled for May 21. They charge that the foundation ignored Peggy Guggenheim’s last wish for the collection, which consists mainly of Cubist, Surrealist and abstract postwar art: that it be displayed in the palazzo in its entirety and without additions.

They say the museum has removed nearly half the works and added pieces donated by Rudolph B. and Hannelore B. Schulhof, the parents of Michael P. Schulhof, now a foundation trustee. The relatives are seeking to revoke Guggenheim’s donation if the collection is not restored to its initial state, a requirement that they say was stipulated by the heiress in a 1969 letter. They are demanding that the posted names of the later donors be removed, and that their artworks be taken out of the palazzo and garden.

 Author bell hooks on pop star Beyoncé:

“Let’s take the image of this super rich, very powerful Black female and let’s use it in the service of imperialist, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy because she probably had very little control over that cover — that image,“ the professor argued.

She adds:

“Well, of course, I think that’s fantasy. I think it’s a fantasy that we can recoup the violating image and use it. I used to get so tired of people quoting Audre [Lorde], ‘The masters tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’ But that was exactly what she meant that you are not going to destroy this imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy by creating your own version of it. Even if it serves you to make lots and lots of money.

I’ve really been challenging people to think about would we be at all interested in Beyoncé if she wasn’t so rich, because I don’t think you can separate her class power, and the wealth, from people’s fascination with her. That here is a young, Black woman who is so incredibly wealthy. And wealthy is what so many young people fantasize, dream about, sexualize, eroticize. And one could argue, even more than her body, it’s what that body stands for—the body of desire fulfilled that is wealth, fame, celebrity, all the things that so many people in our culture are lusting for, wanting.

If Beyoncé was a homeless woman who looked the same way, or a poor, down and out woman who looked the same way, would people be enchanted by her? Or is it the combination of all of those things that are at the heart of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy?”

 Is Hildreth Meière the best Art Deco designer that no one remembers? She was a “virtually forgotten artist and sculptor whose architectural mosaics, glass windows, and painted murals still adorn prominent churches, office buildings, skyscrapers, and world’s fair pavilions” and now a new book wants to correct the art historical record:

In Meière’s time, women were not routinely afforded large mural commissions. But the architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue played a key role in Meière’s success. Recognizing her talent, he entrusted her to create murals for two major commissions: the Great Hall of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Nebraska State Capitol. She had no prior experience as a muralist, but she was blessed with “large ambition.” These major commissions at the beginning of her career gave Meière the opportunity to show what she was capable of achieving as part of an architectural team.

 Art dealer Marianne Boesky, who was born with a huge silver spoon in her mouth, shares some fascinating things in this interview on Artspace. Including an early experience at an art fair in Europe:

I went to Art Cologne in 1988 as one of my first fairs, and Friedrich Petzel, Gavin Brown, and I were all sort of sponsored by the fair — they gave us our booths for nothing. And I remember being interviewed for a TV show and being so proud of having these artists there, but then when I saw the interview I realized they were actually making fun of me for having the worst booth in the entire fair. The work was just so ahead of its time, and people weren’t really ready for it, especially in Cologne.

 Kriston Capps has a lot to say about the National Gallery of Art’s lack of diversity in the context of its current Andrew Wyeth retrospective:

Since the museum opened in 1941, it has mounted just one exhibition by a living woman (painter Helen Frankenthaler, in 1993). It has organized just one exhibition by a living African-American (painter Kerry James Marshall, in 2013). Neither has the National Gallery ever seriously entertained the presence of women or people of color in art history, except in utterly rare cases. When “Degas/Cassatt” opens on Sunday, it will mark the National Gallery’s sixth Cassatt exhibition since 1950. As it stands, Cassatt shows make up almost exactly one-half of solo exhibitions by women put on by the National Gallery. Four women account for all the rest: Dutch Golden Age master Judith Leyster, French Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot, German modernist sculptor and painter Käthe Kollwitz, and the immortal Georgia O’Keeffe.

 Barbara Pollack, writing for Art News, looks at how the art community is looking back at the impact of AIDS on art:

Jonathan D. Katz, cocurator of the 2010 Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., is currently working on Art, AIDS, America, scheduled to open at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 2015. The exhibition will feature artists from the ’80s and ’90s, such as Gonzalez-Torres, Wojnarowicz, and Frank Moore, but will go right up to the present with works by Patrick Webb, Hunter Reynolds, and Donald Moffett. “I was troubled by the repeated references to AIDS as a tragic tangent to the history of American art and one that did not do anything or lead anywhere.” He adds, “AIDS was the great motor for some of the most major changes taking place in the American art world over the last 30 years, and I wanted to do an exhibition that explored that.”

“The show fundamentally argues that when AIDS was first in evidence in the American art world, there was a kind of orthodoxy governing contemporary art; it was considered anti-authorial and anti-expressive — Postmodernism ruled the roost,” Katz says. “Ideas like ‘death of the author’ were sustainable until artists started to actually die.”

 A very sweet request by a design legend’s son. Massimo Vignelli is best remembered for his 1972 New York Subway map:

One of the world’s great designers, Massimo Vignelli, is very ill and will be spending his last days at home. His son Luca would like all those for whom Vignelli was either an influence or an inspiration to write him a letter.

… According to Pentagram partner Michael Bierut, “Luca said that Massimo would be thrilled to get notes of good wishes from people whom he’s touched or influenced – whether personally or remotely – over the years. Luca has visions of huge mail bags full of letters. I know that one of Massimo’s biggest fantasies has been to attend his own funeral. This will be the next best thing. Pass the word.”

Please send your notes, letters, cards etc to:

Massimo Vignelli
130 East 67 Street
New York, New York 10021

 The “best” manga covers of Spring 2014. Here’s a taste:


 Jennifer Egan really likes James Hannaham’s Card Tricks series, which is “writing fiction in the form of art gallery plaques, my reaction was selfish: I wished I’d thought of it. The idea is so clearly excellent, involving the use of a non-literary genre that is textual, but also rich with its own conventions and dramatic possibilities. What more could a fiction writer possibly want?” See all of them on Recommended Reading.


 And this blog is “ruining Thomas Kinkade” paintings with bad photoshop jobs:


Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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